Innovation That Matters

In Italy, secret pop-up restaurant gives directions via SMS

Travel & Tourism

Much the way Charlie’s Burgers uses a heaping helping of mystery to embellish the allure of its roaming, “anti-restaurant” gourmet meals, so the Italian town of Ferrara kept most of the details under wraps until the last minute for its recent, pop-up dinner in the city streets. Participants in Ferrara’s September Street Dinner began by purchasing for EUR 60 per person a package for two that included separate tickets for aperitifs, a table and two chairs, and two dinner menu choices; also included were two Street Dinner sweatshirts, instructions and a map of the city. Guests also provided their mobile phone number up front. Then, on the designated evening, an SMS arrived revealing first the location where aperitifs were to be served. Next, an hour before dinner, a second text message told participants where to pick up their table, chairs and chosen meals. Finally, after that a third text message revealed at last the location of the dinner. An option including overnight stay in a 3- or 4-star hotel was also offered beginning at EUR 115 per person. All participants were entered in a drawing for a free trip to Mauritius as well. Operated by travel agency Link Tours with sponsorship from a variety of other local organizations, the Street Dinner is planned to occur again at some as-yet-unspecified date in 2011. Part treasure hunt and part pop-up restaurant, it’s hard to imagine a better way to promote a city and its local highlights while giving consumers an experience they’ll remember. With the overnight option, that can even be extended to consumers from afar. One to emulate, particularly in artistic or historic locations around the world! (Related: In Paris, a community brunch festival pops up monthly.) Spotted by: Giulia Cuccolini



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